The Inspire IT team has been busy exploring ways to develop our digital curriculum and give young people we work with the best opportunities to develop their IT skills and fulfil their potential through technology. Our consultation was designed to collect the views of young people and services in a number of ways, to allow for maximum engagement.
So, what did we get up to?
We built this website! This website is our ‘learning portal’ and has been designed to give young people access to a range of resources for life learning and skills development. We have a blog (you’re reading it right now!) and in the future we hope that young people will contribute to it by telling us what they have been up to, how they have been using the Dell technology in their service and recommending apps and hacks for other young people to try out. We have created the home page around themes identified as being most relevant to Action for Children service users. For example, we have parenting support links, CV templates and budgeting tools.
We carried out two online surveys! We asked our service users about their views on technology, their favourite sites (social media sites came top with youtube, instagram and facebook) and what they used computers for. Computers were used mostly to support with school and college work, apply for training and further education courses and for downloading music. They were also handy for those young people with hobbies – who looked up wrestling moves, martial arts and hairstyles for a hairdressing college course – and for independent living skills, such as budgeting support, looking for accommodation and searching for healthy recipes online. XBox One came out on top of the ‘best console’ list. We also began carrying out Impact surveys, so we can measure the difference we make to young people’s lives in terms of our technology offer.
We created a new page on our intranet The Loop! We used this to tell Action for Children staff about our consultation, promote our social media profile and encourage more young people to take part in our consultation. We included lists of apps recommended by young people, and paperwork to help services in making technology safe for young people to use.
We set up a twitter account! @AfCInspireIT allows us to get our messages across to key people and services such as Action for Children, Dell, partner agencies and individual services. We created the simple #InspireIT to encourage people to share their views with us.
We sent out E-newsletters! We love to keep all the services and service users we work with up to date about Inspire IT and so we send a regular e-newletter with details of our competitions, surveys, new developments and top tips.
We met with service users! We spoke with mums who attend South West Burnley Children’s Centre with their babies, and found out which websites they used most. Their recommendation of Netmums is a link from our Inspire IT website. We met with young people in Guernsey who were being supported by Action for Children Guernsey Youth Housing, and found out about the sites they used and how important the staff support had been for them.
We made a film! We met with young people being supported by Action for Children in Northern Ireland. They were filmed telling us about the difference the Inspire IT technology and the Action for Children project staff make to their lives. You can watch the film here.
So, what’s next?
A focus group! A team of young people at Alexandria Prep for Life Housing Service are getting together as our Inspire IT focus group. They are going to be scrutinising our finished website, and making suggestions on ways to improve it, such as new links to add and ways to encourage young bloggers!
Survey analysis! We are going to be analysing the results of our Impact Surveys. They form part of the information we feed back to Dell, and will help us to improve the work we do and deliver the best digital curriculum we can!
Incentives! We’re offering incentives of games consoles and other goodies to services and service users, to maximise the input we get, and ensure that we continue to provide the best service we can, and respond to the needs of the young people we work with.
Thanks so much for reading and for your support of Inspire IT, providing service user technology and support in Action for Children!
Do you want to get in touch with us? Email Inspire.IT@actionforchildren.org.uk